Airdreaming


Leave a comment

Mouse Fur Replacement Re-imagined

Our initial plan after removing the dated and worn mouse-fur was to strip the adhesive film and shine up the underlying aluminum.  Although the underlying aluminum wasn’t the shiny smooth finish you’ll find in the newer Airstreams, we didn’t mind that the seams weren’t perfect and there were a few holes.  We liked the look.

However, in that time we also found an alternative solution embraced by fellow Airdreamers.  We figured we would give it a try.  After many lessons learned – described in more detail below – we ended up with a really great finish on the bedroom walls.

IMG_20170513_194738

Some details:

We also went with marine vinyl from great lakes skipper.  It was about 20 dollars a yard, 1/4 inch foam backing.  I ordered 17 yards, which gave me a few yards extra, which I would highly recommend, as screw ups are really easy and you might want to redo some panels if they don’t go up how you want.  I was lucky and my few screw ups ended up fitting perfectly in other places.  I’ll probably use the extra fabric for other smaller projects.

For spray adhesive, I used 3M90 and 3M80.  The 3M80 was supposed to be for headliner specifically so I thought I’d try it.  The 90 worked much better.  It gave a much flatter look.

For transition strips I used traffic master seam strips from home depot.  I used small sheet metal screws to attach them.  I used sheet metal snips to trim the strips, which isn’t ideal, I’m pretty sure the first pair were A LOT sharper before I started the project.  By the end my grip was barely enough to cut through them.

The flat walls with windows were the easiest by far.  I took down the window frame and blinds, cut one big section with about 4 inches of extra on both directions.  Sprayed glue on the foam and the wall, waited a minute for it to get tacky, and stuck it up there.  It’s much easier with two people to help line it up correctly. The glue gives you a few minutes before it really sets.  Next, I trimmed out the windows with an exacto knife then I trimmed the excess on the floor with a metal ruler as a guide.  It doesn’t make a perfect cut, so i might add some trim on the floor later.

The end caps were more challenging.  The outlets I covered with duct tape to protect from glue, then I glued up half the panel.  With half the section secured with glue, it makes it easier to cut out the vinyl in front of the outlet, unscrew the outlet, and pull it through the vinyl sideways.

The hardest section was the top corners because they are so rounded.  I cut both sections about a foot longer than I measured.  Which sounds excessive, but I would do it the same way the next time.  Because of the curve it’s very difficult to estimate how much you really need. Next, I applied glue and immediately started working the section on the wall to get the extra all bunched into the center, I then used a small section of trim as a guide, and an extra set of eyes to stand back and tell me where the center was.  I drew a line and cut up as far as I had to in order to get the section to sit flat.  The rest was careful trimming.

I also replaced the plastic conduit that held the AC wire with 1/2 inch aluminum flex.

It’s a slow process and it took me about 3 days, with a lot of time spent staring at the wall considering my options.

If I had to do it again…I might considering even thicker foam to hide more imperfections, but that could also backfire and be more difficult to work with.  I would also recommend fully emptying the room and planning on sleeping somewhere else for the few days it takes.

IMG_20170513_131528IMG_20170513_131535

As a reminder, here were the before pictures:

57080ecaedc155f1126a076eIMG_20160905_130231


Leave a comment

Renovation Journey – Move-in Ready.

The Airstream is definitely move-in ready – although we have quite a few things left on our list of upgrades – notably the bathroom and stripping and polishing the walls.

In the meantime, here is a little before and after:

The bedroom.

Optimizing Storage and fitting a regular sized queen bed.

In order to optimize the storage space, we removed the wardrobes (but did lose the upper cabinets in the process), and removed an exterior storage compartment that took up a lot of space under the bed.

We purchased a queen size bed frame (60 X 80) that has 17 inches of clearance from the floor.

With a little measuring, mixing and matching we found a great combination of Sterilite drawers to store our clothes.  I actually have MORE drawer space than I did at the house.

We then added some hooks on the walls and purchased hangers from the container store that can hold up to five items in a tiered orientation that works great to hold all of our work clothes for the week that need to stay wrinkle free.

IMG_20160905_130721

The Bathroom.

Still a work in progress.

We replaced the sink, faucet, and counter-top, as well as the toilet.  We also removed the lower cabinets on the right and left it open for storage.

The Living Room.

Cozy, comfy, TV time.

Certainly MY favorite room in the Airstream.

We custom built a shelf at the end of the couch so we could fit the largest TV possible without mounting it.

We also replaced the couch cushions with newly upholstered super-dense foam and minimized the number of cushions for additional comfort.

The Kitchen.

Fully functional.

We removed the old kitchenette and installed an IKEA kitchen.  The professionals hacked it a bit for us so that it not only fits perfectly, but is nice and sturdy.

The kitchen design was extremely easy.  We had 66 inches of space to work with and selected a 36 inch base cabinet for the sink and a 30 inch base cabinet for the cook top and oven – with a lower drawer that fits all the pots and pans and then some.

The Desk.

Gamer’s den + Additional Prep Space.

The previous owner had already removed the space-consuming dinette and converted that area to a desk space.

We kept with the same idea but installed a custom desk area so Ryan could game comfortably and we could utilize the existing mount space from the old TV.

We designed the counter-top to fit both Ryan and leave additional kitchen prep space for cooking.

Under the prep space is an open area we are currently using for laundry and other storage but we also had it plumbed and framed for a washer/dryer combo.  Right now we are parked right across from the laundry and we aren’t sold on a combo model that seems worth it yet – but we wanted the option.

That is our whole new house!!  In a nutshell.  Here is a slideshow below of all the new photos for optimal viewing.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


1 Comment

Remodel – Phase I

The remodel has started!

We decided to rely on professionals to tackle some of the bigger remodel items – flooring, electrical upgrade, new kitchen, reupholstering the couch, and some more intricate demo.

Here are some of the in-progress photos:

The kitchenette.

The photo on the left shows what was behind the old kitchenette.  We installed two new A/Cs with heat pumps and so removed the furnace and duct work to maximize storage in the new kitchenette (shown right).  That is the new sink and induction cook-top waiting to be installed.

The cabinetry is all IKEA.

The Living Room.

The couch was removed to install the new flooring.  We also had the old fabric removed from the framing.  We opted not to recover the frame with fabric, but to leave the underlying wood exposed.  We plan to either paint, stain, or seal it.

The Office.

The desk area is the one custom portion of the renovation.  We are installing additional butcher block prep space and a desk.  We also had them plumb to accommodate a washer/dryer combo or dishwasher.  We can’t decide what we want there – if anything – but decided to have it all installed while doing the rest of the renovation rather than trying to do it later.

You can also see our new floors peeking out from under the protective cardboard.

The bedroom.

We entirely gutted the bedroom.  We removed the huge wardrobes that took up most of the space along with the built in bed frame that did a pretty terrible job of providing storage space. We lost the upper cabinets as a result because the wardrobes were providing the primary support for them.  We also removed the exterior storage box and leveled the flooring so we could put whatever type of bed we wanted in the space.

The one area not pictured (because I forgot) is the bathroom.  It’s pretty much gutted at this point and we are installing a new toilet, counter-top, and sink.  We are stuck with the existing cabinet frame and shower for now – due to costs – but I plan to use stainless adhesive tile to freshen up the walls (that currently have wall paper) and will paint the cabinets.

We are very excited that it’s coming along so well!  Almost ready.


1 Comment

Removing the Airstream wall fabric (“mouse-fur”).

One drawback of purchasing a Used Airstream – as opposed to New or Vintage – is the fabric wall covering that came standard in Airstreams for many years – endearingly referred to as “mouse-fur” .

I believe the actual name/brand of the fabric is Ozite.  It’s known for its mold/mildew resistant properties – which seemingly makes a lot of sense for an RV.

However – it can quickly become the bane of an Airdreamer’s existence.

Airstream used a light cream colored fabric over aluminum.  The result being that the aluminum starts to bleed through the fabric over time – making it look dingy and dirty with black stains.

People have had mixed success cleaning the fabric – but who really wants to spend time shampooing and vacuuming the walls of their RV?

The mouse-fur on our model was in decent shape in some places, but stained and discolored in others.

We decided early on that we were going to remove it – even after reading mixed reviews on the process.

Here is one of the many great posts on Airforums about mouse-fur removal:  Mouse Fur Removal with Photos.

As many folks will note – the aluminum under the mouse-fur isn’t going to be all nice and shiny like what you find in newer models.  Airstream didn’t intend for this aluminum to be visible – so you may find marks, scratches, holes, seam-tape – and most importantly, a nice layer of super-adhesive.

The adhesive layer was not as bad as I thought it would be.  It’s relatively thin and the aluminum didn’t look all that bad even with the adhesive.  It was still better than stained carpet.

We read a lot of posts about people using extremely caustic and abrasive strippers to remove the adhesive.  I really wanted to avoid that if possible.  We would likely be living in the trailer while we worked on this part of the renovation, so I didn’t want to fill our new home with toxic fumes that might linger.

I found a post on Greenrvlife where one Airdreamer used an eco-safe stripper to remove the adhesive with great success.

We purchased a small sample to test out on our Airstream.

While Greenrvlife let the stripper sit for a few hours – I only had about an hour to test it out.  I sprayed about a one inch dot on the adhesive and let it sit while I cleaned out the fridge.

The result was fantastic!  After an hour the adhesive stripped right off with little to no effort.

IMG_20160507_132759

While this is a very small success, this particular part of the renovation project just got a lot less intimidating.

Our trailer is currently with professionals getting some more complicated upgrades done (e.g. electric), but when we finally pick it up, we will continue the mouse-fur removal process and post more pictures.

UPDATE:  More pictures….

Here is a picture of the bedroom – the top photo is the wall with the mouse-fur still on it and the bottom shows the wall with the mouse-fur removed.  You can see that Airstream used a tan seam-tape that we will remove as we remove the adhesive.

IMG_20160618_113345IMG_20160618_113323

Here is a photo of the mouse-fur removed from the wall where the dinette used to be.

IMG_20160618_113511

Lots of work and demo ahead of us but getting more and more excited as we go.


1 Comment

Airstream Cabinet Update – DIY

We are completely skipping important back story and jumping ahead here.  I promise this didn’t happen overnight and there was a whole process and plan behind all of it.

BUT…since we started on some of our DIY projects this weekend we wanted to share right away.

We will explain in more detail in other posts, but for our Airstream update we are doing certain upgrades ourselves and using professional help for many others (e.g. electric).

One of the big face lift items is refinishing the wood looking laminate cabinets.  Our cabinets are in good shape but we really want to brighten up the small space and go for something lighter.  Here are some BEFORE pictures:

 

I opted for paint.  I did a lot of research and read a lot of blogs about painting laminate cabinets.

We ultimately settled for the following process (that is still in progress):

  1. Select a paint.  I researched Rust-Oleum and some other options (I think one blogger used Glidden Gripper).  We picked Cabinet Rescue in white. (http://cabinetrescue.com/).
  2. Remove cabinets from frames.
  3. Sand with 400 Grit fine sandpaper (I originally picked up something coarser but the service rep at the paint store recommended the 400 Grit – so we will see).
  4. Wipe away any dust from sanding.
  5. Using a high density foam roller, apply a base coat.

This is the step we are on and I can tell you we will definitely need a second coat but the finish looks good so far.

IMG_20160522_175235

UPDATE:

After letting the first coat dry for 24 hours we applied a second coat of paint to the cabinets.

Our Airstream cabinets have a slight texture to them.  We used a 400 Grit sandpaper and lightly scuffed and sanded the laminate but did not sand away the texture.  So after the first coat, some of that laminate color still bled through.

The second coat fully filled in the texture and covered any of the laminate still showing after the first coat.  We ended up with a very smooth finish while retaining some texture.

Here is a picture of a finished cabinet face.  I placed it against our current kitchen cabinets.  The finish is just as smooth and an even more vibrant white.

Cabinet face

Once we’ve re-installed them in the trailer we will upload some more photos!